Jonah was unhappy with God. He knew that God was merciful, so he refused to go to Nineveh. He chose instead to travel for Spain, but God would have nothing of Jonah’s attitude. He sent a great storm to do a bit of persuading and Jonah’s answer was to God’s character was for the sailors throw him overboard.
God not only prepared a great storm, but a great fish. The moment Jonah began his descent into Davy Jones’ Locker, that big fish swallowed God’s prophet.
For three days, Jonah sat inside that fish, the digestive juices bleaching his skin and his clothes. I imagine Jonah in that dark, smelly, confinement wishing he was dead a thousand times over. Finally from the belly of that great fish, he prayed and God answered.
Everyone suffers in different ways and for different reasons.
We much prefer to suffer according to our own terms. If we’re going to suffer, we want our suffering to be gentle, short-lived, and full of immediate and obvious results. Like Jonah, we want our trials to be over right now. Dying a thousand deaths … not on our agenda.
As Christians we know that God has a purpose in our suffering. In His perfect wisdom and love for us, He knows exactly what we need to make us more godly. He knows the amount and kind of suffering that best works His purpose into each one of us.
He knows the way that I take, when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10).